Goff's injury may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Wednesday, head coach Todd Haley seemed less than distraught over his loss. In fact, read past his initial comments, and it almost sounds like he's fonder of his offensive line without Goff.
"Mike obviously is an important piece to us that we signed in the offseason to kind of help a lot of these young guys how to do it," said Haley. "Disappointing that his season is over; I know he's disappointed, but as we've said, injuries are a part of this game."
"We actually were carrying a little heavy on offensive line. We're banged up a little bit, but I feel like last week Andy stepped in and played, and he missed a couple plays there, but he fought back and he finished the game strong and did some good things, so we'll have to carry on. Injuries are part of the game. Guys got to step in, get the job done and give us a chance to win, so I expect that to happen up front."
The offensive line has been the Chiefs' bane the last few seasons, and the organization has repeatedly brought in over-the-hill retreads like Goff – the Kyle Turleys, Jon Welbourns, and Chris Bobers of the world. Goff's career is nearing its conclusion - at 33, he was not much of a viable option beyond this season.
After sending a draft pick to Miami late this preseason, the Chiefs now have two young players with a chance to start in Kansas City for a longer haul - Alleman (25) and Ike Ndukwe (27). Ndukwe has played mostly as a tackle since joining the Chiefs, but that experiment appears to be over.
"Ike, I think (guard's) probably his position, really," said Haley. "We tried to force the issue out at tackle a little early, but I think if it came down to it, that's a position he's probably really comfortable playing. He'll have his shot in there, and again we'll go with the guys that we think give us the best chance. That's why I feel fairly comfortable, at least with (guard) being the spot (where we lost a starter)."
Alleman started at right guard last week in Jacksonville, filling in for the injured Goff, which is surprising considering what transpired in Miami last season. Ndukwe started 15 games at guard for the Dolphins in 2009, and Alleman just five, splitting time between guard and center. However, Haley likes what he has in Alleman.
"I think Andy, obviously, is a guy that's got some experience and has played and we got him here for a reason," he said. "He's worked hard, he's battled some things physically since he's been here, but I think he's a tough guy that wants to play and wants to show what he's capable of. I thought he showed some positive things in there this week, so I expect him to just improve from there."
Haley hesitated to confirm if Alleman would start at right guard this week in Oakland.
"I won't go that far right now," he said. "I think Andy did a good job in there, and I would expect him to be in there probably. I would say Andy's probably the starter. I think that would be fair."
Alleman appears to have edged in front of Ndukwe for the starting right guard spot, but going forward, this position battle is worth watching. The Chiefs have plenty of needs, but the offensive line is key - it needs upgrades at center, right guard and right tackle. If the Chiefs find something reliable in Alleman or Ndukwe, that's one less thing to scramble for in the draft and free agency.
Goff's Injury Presents Opportunity
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